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How to make moules frites

Moules frites is an absolute classic which really lets the flavour of fresh mussels shine and involves simply cooking in a buttery parsley and white wine sauce. This showstopping dish is surprisingly good value and a great introduction to cooking with mussels, so don't be daunted and learn how to make moules frites with our easy recipe and expert tips. There’s a handy ingredients list at the bottom of the page with everything you need.

  1. Prepare the mussels

    Clean the mussels

    Rinse 1 kg fresh mussels under cold running water to remove any grit, then use a cutlery knife to scrape off any barnacles.

    Step 1Give them a tap

    Discard any cracked mussels. Gently tap any open mussels on a chopping board. Discard any that don't close, as they are dead.

    Step 2Remove the 'beards'

    While the 'beard' isn't harmful, it isn't very nice to eat. To remove, grasp it between your thumb and fore finger and pull downwards towards the hinged end of the shell. Tug firmly until it comes out.

    Step 3

  2. Fry the onions

    Place a large, heavy-based lidded saucepan over a low heat. Add 15g butter, 1 finely diced onion and 2 finely sliced spring onions; cook, covered, for 10-12 mins until the onions are soft. Don't let them colour. You want the flavour to be sweet and delicate rather than caramelised. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and ½ x 15g pack of roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley to the pan. Fry for 2 mins, covered, then add 100ml wine and 100ml water. Remove the lid, increase the heat to bring to a simmer. You could also give the sauce a delicate herby flavour by adding bay leaves or thyme before adding the liquid.

    Fry the onions
  3. Cook the mussels

    Add the mussels, cover tightly (to retain the steam), increase the heat to high and cook for 5 mins, shaking the pan occasionally to bring the bottom mussels to the top. Meanwhile, put 800g frozen French fries in the oven and cook to pack instructions. Remove the lid on the pan of mussels after the initial 5 mins: if the mussels are all open, they are cooked. If most are still closed, cover and cook for a further 1-2 mins or until opened.

  4. Discard closed shells

    Tip the mussels into a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid for the sauce. Discard any mussels that haven't opened. Cover with a lid to keep warm while you make the sauce.

    Discard closed shells
  5. Make the sauce

    Pour the liquid into the pan and boil for 3-4 mins until reduced by half. Taste the reduced liquid before you add the cream. It should be intense (the cream will dilute it). If it's not strong, reduce for a few mins more. Once the reduced liquid has reached the appropriate intensity, reduce the heat to low and stir in 100ml single cream.

    Make the sauce
  6. Serve with fries

    Transfer the mussels to serving bowls, pour over the sauce, sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve with the French fries.

    RFO 636x418 Moules fritesCalories 704 (35%), sugar 4g (4%), fat 24g (34%), saturates 7g (34%), salt 1.9g (32%), based on 4 servings.

  7. Flavour twists

    For a Thai take on this classic dish, switch the parsley for coriander and add a little finely chopped fresh chilli and lemongrass along with the onion and garlic. Use coconut milk rather than cream at the end and serve with lime wedges.

  8. Ingredients

    We've made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need to make this more-ish moules frites recipe. Don't forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    1kg fresh mussels
    15g butter
    1 onion, finely diced
    2 spring onions, finely sliced
    2 garlic cloves, crushed
    15g fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
    100ml white wine
    100ml single cream
    800g frozen French fries

    Serves 4

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      24g 34%
    • Saturates

      7g 34%
    • Sugars

      4g 4%
    • Salt

      1.9g 32%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 89.8g Protein 25.2g Fibre 8.3g